European regulator fines 7 global electronics firms $1.92 bn for price fixing

The European regulator has fined seven global electronics firms a record $1.92 billion for fixing prices of TV and monitor cathode-ray tubes for nearly a decade.

Brussels-based European Commission (EC) imposed its largest-ever penalty on Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI, Panasonic, Toshiba and French company Technicolor (formerly Thomson).

Taiwan's Chunghwa Picture Tubes, which blew the whistle on the cartels in TV and computer monitors was let off without being fined, while other companies received reductions of their fines for cooperating in the investigation.

The EC said that for almost ten years, between 1996 and 2006, these companies fixed prices, shared markets, allocated customers between themselves and restricted their output.

The cartel also monitored the implementation, including auditing compliance with the capacity restrictions by plant visits in the case of the computer monitor tubes cartel.

One cartel concerned colour picture tubes used for televisions and the other for colour display tubes used in computer monitors.